The Navy’s Zero Tolerance policy was instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 amidst a surge of accidents involving the use of drugs. But, this did little to deter the use of drugs during the 80’s despite the mandatory urinalysis testing that took place afterward. Commander George Capen attested to the drug abuse during the 80’s in an article he wrote for the U.S. Naval Institute Blog. In his article, he states: “I saw many users among my peers, probably some that shouldn’t have entered service.” As such, it’s fairly clear that a problem still exists when situations like the 7th Fleet occur, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is currently on the case.
A group of sailors in the 7th Fleet are undergoing investigation in Naval Base Yokosuka due to allegations involving the use of drugs and other narcotics. Commander Clay Doss mentioned to The Japan Times through an email that the NCIS is actively undergoing an investigation of these allegations. But, while the Navy does not allow members to abuse drugs of any kind, how can it prevent this type of situation from happening right under its nose?
The USS Ronald Reagan is the largest ship stationed in Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka. Hosting a crew of around 3,000 members when in-port, and over 5,000 when underway, it’s not surprising to hear that a drug ring had formed when the potential buyers are so numerous. A statement written by the Wall Street Journal claimed that around twelve members of the base were under the suspicion of selling drugs such as LSD and even ecstasy. Ironically enough, a few of these cases undergoing investigation were from the USS Ronald Reagan.
The investigation began when Navy officials received a tip involving a 3rd Class Petty Officer’s use of narcotics. When approached by the investigators, the Petty Officer in question pointed them towards other members who were either using or selling drugs on the ship. As the investigation continues, it is expected that more members will be found and punished accordingly.
The local Japanese Police are also involved in the investigation procedures because they suspect that locals are also being supplied with narcotics. This was brought to light after a package involving one of the sailors under investigation was found by the local post office to be suspicious. Japan also has strict rules involving the use and sale of drugs in their country. A case such as this where the Japanese locals were involved would certainly garner negative attention and further fuel the resentment felt by the nationals who believe the U.S. should not be serving in their country.
Yet, not only would selling drugs to the locals further add to the animosity felt by these folks, but it would also warrant Court Martial as it would be a national incident. Sailors serving in Japan are often reminded of their status as ambassadors of their country, but it does little to deter the actions of a few individuals who believe they are above reproach.
For as long as people see the opportunity to make money, under the table situations like these will arise. Drugs aren’t easily accessible in Japan, and this serves to create a black market type of situation such as the ones seen during The Prohibition Era. I believe NCIS is capable of stopping the current drug ring with their methods and agents. But, I have no doubt that another situation like this will arise in a few years. After all, as long as there is money in the market, nothing will stop the enticing allure of capitalism.
P.S. There is a rumor right now that the group is comically referring to themselves as “The Charlies” due to their restricted liberty status. Anyone who knows or has served in Japan in recent years knows that liberty restrictions are broken down from Alpha to Charlie. Alpha means you mostly have freedom until late at night, whereas Charlie means you can’t even wear civilian attire.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.